Facebook Security Chief Said to Leave After Clashes Over Disinformation

Facebook’s chief information security officer, Alex Stamos, will leave the company after internal disagreements over how the social network should deal with its role in spreading disinformation, according to current and former employees briefed on the matter.

Mr. Stamos had been a strong advocate inside the company for investigating and disclosing Russian activity on Facebook, often to the consternation of other top executives, including Sheryl Sandberg, the social network’s chief operating officer, according to the current and former employees, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters.

After his day-to-day responsibilities were reassigned to others in December, Mr. Stamos said he would leave the company. He was persuaded to stay through August to oversee the transition of his duties because executives thought his departure would look bad, the current and former employees said. He has been overseeing the transfer of his security team to Facebook’s product and infrastructure divisions. His group, which once had 120 people, now has three, the current and former employees said.

Mr. Stamos would be the first high-ranking employee to leave Facebook since controversy erupted over disinformation on its site. His departure is a sign of heightened leadership tensions at the company.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, Ms. Sandberg and other company leaders have struggled to address a growing set of problems, including Russian interference on the platform, the rise of false news, and the disclosure this past weekend that 50 million of its user profiles had been harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a voter-profiling company that worked on President Trump’s election campaign.

Facebook did not immediately have a comment.

Content originally published on https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/technology/facebook-alex-stamos.html by NICOLE PERLROTH, SHEERA FRENKEL and SCOTT SHANE